PAW PAW - The Redskin football nation experienced an early Halloween surprise Friday evening in pre-district playoff football against Grand Rapids South Christian. There were no treats for local fans, and the Sailors provided all the tricks as they walked off with a shocking 48-0 win over the previously undefeated Redskins. South Christian dominated every aspect of the game, while the home team seemed to be in shock. The runners and receivers from the north floated through a generally reliable Redskin defense as untouched as if they were ghosts.
Senior quarterback Justin McCauley, the Reds’ do everything man, stood mainly on the sidelines Friday night. He had an injury from the previous week at Edwardsburg, and was able to play in just a very limited capacity, all in the first half, leaving sophomore Jay Doll to run the offense. DeMarcus Leak who had blossomed in recent weeks to become a serious threat at running back, also was restricted due to an injury and limited to just seven rushing attempts before being forced to leave the game.
South Christian took the opening kickoff and scored in just three plays with 1:12 gone in the period - an indication of things to come. A second sign this would be a long night for the Redskins came on their first play from scrimmage. Paw Paw lost the ball on a fumble. The Redskins gained it back on the very next play, but shortly afterwards a Sailor linebacker stole the ball while attempting a tackle and ran 53 yards to set the score at 13-0.
After the next kickoff, a Grand Rapids first down interception again set up the visitors in good field position, and it quickly became a 20-0 contest. After the third turnover by the ’Skins in the first quarter, another Sailor TD run without a single touch by a Redskin defensive player put the score at 27-0 with 1:35 still to play in quarter number one.
McCauley left in the second period with an aggravation of his injury and two more easy TD runs by the Sailors made the score 41-0 and set up a mercy clock rule for the remainder of the half.
Things didn’t change after intermission and the Redskin bleachers became as silent as a graveyard on October 31st.
Obviously South Christian was a quality team despite their 6-3 record attained against quality teams. But one thing Paw Paw fans may remember about the game is late in the third quarter when it appeared the Sailors were going to punt for the first time in the game, they ran a fake punt for a first down to set up their final score of the night, a bitter pill for Redskin fans to swallow.
On the game Paw Paw managed only 120 yards of offense compared to the 450 they had compiled per game up to that point.
Though playoff successes have eluded the Redskin seniors, their accomplishments over the past three years are undeniable. Since 2010, against Wolverine Conference opponents, the Redskin varsity squads have compiled a record of 27-2.
Playing their last football game for Paw Paw were Cody Greene, Jack Jennings, Justin McCauley, Cody Small, DeMarcus Leak, Andrew Huff, Randall Miller, Brandon Hall, Brody Try, Cal Beck, Jasen Vorce, and Sam Rice.
A strong group of returning Redskins for next year plus talented players from the successful junior varsity and freshman teams make it appear that Redskin football will be strong for the foreseeable future.